Cherry Pie Bars

Cherry Pie Bars

I have always loved when my aunt, Debbie, comes to visit. Since I can remember, I’ve looked forward to her trips to see my parents and me and spend time with us.

She’s my cool aunt. You know, the member of my family, other than my parents, that I look up to, admire, want to spend time with. I distinctly remember her past visits fondly. They involved lots of shopping, watching movies, and going out to eat.

Cherry Pie Bars

I think my all-time favorite visit of hers was a long time ago when we spent a day painting our nails purple, eating pretzel nuggets right from the bag, and watching Spice World. I told you it was a long time ago! I sometimes wish I could transport back to that day.

It had been a very long time since Debbie came to visit, so late last year I asked her if she’d like to take a trip here and go to the Justin Timberlake concert with Mom and me (more on that fabulous show next week!). She said yes! It just took Justin Timberlake to get her to visit; no one can say no to Justin! While it seemed like the concert was eons away at the time, it came up super quickly.

We didn’t waste a single moment of the long weekend. The time flew by and was full of talking, a day of shopping, and some baking! We had to get in the kitchen for some bonding time.

Cherry Pie Bars

We made Cherry Pie Bars. Blackberry Pie Bars are one of my favorite recipes, so I was excited to mix them up with cherries. They did not disappoint. The crisp buttery shortbread with the creamy vanilla filling, and those juicy, sweet cherries is an irresistible combination. Plus, they are equally tasty warm from the oven or cold from the refrigerator. We could not stop eating them!

Even better than the bars was the time spent with Mom and Debbie in the kitchen talking and baking the day away. It’s a memory forever treasured in my mind. I really hope Debbie’s next visit is soon . . . even if it doesn’t involve Justin or Cherry Pie Bars.

Cherry Pie Bars

Cherry Pie Bars

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yield: 18 bars



Zest of 1 orange

Zest of 1 lemon

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

3 cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

3 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cubed


4 large eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup sour cream

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

6 cups fresh Bing cherries, washed, dried, stemmed, and pitted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 9 by 13 inch pan.

In a large bowl, stir together orange and lemon zest, sugar, flour, and salt until combined. Add butter and work in with your fingers or a pastry cutter until the butter is about the size of peas and has been well distributed.

Reserve 1 ½ cups of the shortbread in a small bowl. Pour the remainder of the shortbread into the pan and press it in firmly. Bake 15-20 minutes until light golden brown.

While the crust cools, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, sour cream, flour, and vanilla bean paste until fully incorporated. Fold in the cherries. Pour the filling over the baked crust and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with reserved crumb topping.

Place the pan on a baking sheet larger than the pan to catch any drips (mine dripped a lot) and bake for an additional 45-55 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool at least one hour before cutting. Bars may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped individually in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator about 1 hour.


Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

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  1. Debbie Eccard says:

    I love all my trips to Michigan but this one was so special because I haven’t been there for quite awhile. Although I am not really a concert goer, when Laura asked me, it seemed like the perfect reason to go and a special date to look forward to. I do keep in touch (almost daily) but there is nothing like a visit in person. I loved baking with Laura. She is such a fabulous cook and it’s really nice to see what a special person she has grown up to be! These Cherry Pie were are not only fun to make (pitting cherries with juice flying around) but are indescribly delicious! Thanks Laura and Joanna for the perfect weekend!

    • Thanks for all the kind words, Debbie, and of course for coming to visit 🙂 Messy baking is the best baking! Especially when you have people to do it with.

  2. our whole foods had a sale on cherries, it was like $1.79 pound–crazy cheap.
    I stocked up and froze some.
    Want to make something cheesecakey or cookie like.
    These might do too! They look great!

    • Cherries have been so cheap this year. I think last year the lowest I paid was like $5.99 a pound. I have some frozen too.

      I think you would really like these bars. They are super creamy inside, but the crust is very cookie like. I also wonder if you could swap the sour cream with cream cheese???

  3. I guess this is cherries season, and they are sweet and juicy. These bars are so tempting, I love having fruits in my dessert and when baked, are even better, for some reason fruit taste better and sweeter when cooked/baked.
    Your aunt sounds like a fun person to be with, God bless 🙂

  4. You’re very lucky to have such a loving aunt in your family.
    Ιs the best season to make something sweet with cherries
    and these bars look incredibly tasty.

  5. Your Cherry Pie Bars are gorgeous. Now, I know what to do with the cherries in the fridge! 🙂

  6. I haven’t been to a concert in years, but I can well imagine how amazing these cherry bars are! Me and cherries, we’re bff!

  7. Can’t wait to hear about the concert and I love that you and your aunt spent some quality time together baking. these cherry pie bars look amazing! So rich and juicy.

  8. I love these kind of bars, they remind me of when I was a child.. in my books these kind of recipes will never get old 🙂 xoxo

  9. Oh man these look so decadent and delicious! I would love to have these for dessert tonight! Can you express ship?!?! hahaha

    • I so wish I could ship. Sometimes there is just soooooo much food. Not sure I’d want to share these though 😉

  10. these bars look delicious – oh and i love the polka dot print of your site! 🙂

  11. Your bars look terrific, Laura! And it’s good to know they work with other fruit, too! I could make a different version every week 🙂

  12. Going to have to make these for my husband…he’s a cherry freak!!!

  13. Your cherry pie bars and time with your aunt do look and sound like true treasures, Laura =)

  14. I’ve become all about the cherries this summer, and these bars look divine!

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